Family in mind: Socio-spatial knowledge in a Ngaatjatjarra/Ngaanyatjarra children's game

Elizabeth Ellis, Jennifer Green, Inge Kral

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In the Ngaanyatjarra Lands in remote Western Australia children play a guessing game called mama mama ngunytju ngunytju father father mother mother. It is mainly girls who play the game, along with other members of their social network, including age-mates, older kin and adults. They offer clues about target referents and establish mutual understandings through multimodal forms of representation that include semi-conventionalised drawings on the sand. In this paper we show how speech, gesture, and graphic schemata are negotiated and identify several recurrent themes, particularly focusing on the domains of kinship and spatial awareness. We discuss the implications this case study has for understanding the changing nature of language socialisation in remote Indigenous Australia. Multimodal analyses of games and other indirect teaching routines deepen our understandings of the acquisition of cultural knowledge and the development of communicative competence in this context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)164-198
    JournalResearch on Children and Social Interaction
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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